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The Addicts Plea

Emotionally, the argument between choice versus disease exhausts me.

I heard it again this morning… From a nurse….

“They choose to stay in that situation”

I wonder if- as a nurse – she would say that to a domestic violence victim.

The last few days of intently listening to my son’s fears of prison and his charges- {He has court tomorrow}-for possession of feeding his cravings for a disease that he thought would exclude him; I am sitting here in complete desperation and fear myself. I’m exhausted from trying to explain to people that NO-ONE (*** in their right mind***) WOULD CHOOSE this. And it’s just not that easy to get out of.

I can see my son’s limited view. I can see where the years of drugs have damaged his rational thinking. His primal brain is in full throttle of fight or flight. He wants to run away. He can’t see a solution. He doesn’t think it’s fair to get 8 years for self-medicating just to feel ok and then to have it turned into this monster that sucked the life out of everything. He didn’t know he was selling his soul to the devil.

I understand his pain, his dilemma way back when…..Because right now, I WANT to just feel ok. If something was in front of me as a solution to get out of this pain I’m in, I would probably take it! I would! I want it to stop. This is what my son did years ago…..he felt uncomfortable, unsafe in his own skin, always seemingly “doing it wrong” because that’s what the world tells us.

That’s what I continually get told. I’m doing it wrong. I’m supporting him wrong, I need to live my life, let him figure it out, & my favorite: go do something you enjoy. They just don’t understand that no matter what you’re doing, the discomfort & pain is ALWaYS THERE.

In my post Rat Park, Pam Jones Lanhart states:

NO ONE and I mean NO ONE chooses addiction. Not one person who took a drink or a toke off of a bud expected to become addiction. That’s a ridiculous notion and not informed by any data or science. “When I used I was rewarded with a really good feeling. So I used again.” And eventually the neuropathways of the brain are reprogrammed and THEN in spite of all of the negative consequences and the fact that the using is no longer working for them, they can’t stop. That is the definition of addiction. Continued use in spite of negative consequences.”

I know that recovery is a choice Also, but trying to convince a damaged brain that it isn’t damaged is exhausting.

A fellow addict wrote this:

Let me say… Cause this may be the only way some people can understand.
This was not our plan… We didn't plan this daily struggle of depending on something to numb us, just to get through whatever pain we can't stand.
Our plan was to be a natural part of society, not dependent on whatever may be lying around to help us see another day.
It's no excuse… We're a mess, I will confess… But we're also blessed by the best.
If god can forgive us then u can to, because trust me he's better then you.
Your no better sitting on ur throne, with ur nose held high to the sky… We don't judge you cause we already know that he's in charge of that… And we may be addicts, but I know for a fact one day we will change and you'll still be well… well you'll still be That.
N. H.

Please pray for my son, my family, the judge, the court, everyone who can have a hand in relieving the pain of this nightmare, not just for me but for the turmoil and pain my son is feeling inside. The feeling of being trapped and hunted down & punished for a disease that took him way beneath his capability to handle or understand. Thank you🙏

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Tranquilizer Chair

In a previous post, I shared a guest piece from a relative of Dr. Benjamin Rush, who still holds the title “Father of American Psychiatry.” He lived from 1745-1813. So I decided to look him up.

Needless to say, I was a bit horrified at the methods of treatment for mentally ill people back then.

They included:

  • tranquilization through the imposition of physical restraints
  • food modification or deprivation
  • cold water treatments
  • prolonged shower baths.
  • Plus a strange blood draining method.

Read Letter B below:

Read that again….

FEAR, ACCOMPANIED with PAIN and a sense of SHAME has sometimes cured this disease.

Just like prison sometimes appears to cure someone of their traits. I’ve spoken about the correction system in regards to addiction many times in my blog. I’m adamant that if negative consequences cured addiction, no addict would ever lose more than one thing, or ever get arrested more than once because they would be so horrified and shocked at their own behavior they would just be magically cured.

Back then, little was known of mental illness so of course, the theories that were presented we’re taken as Bible. There were no “fact checkers.” Being the Monday morning quarterbacks that we are all experts at, its easy to scoff at Dr. Rush’s ideas of circulation & bleeding to cure the brain.

When you know better, you do better. I hope there is currently enough education being done around MAT treatment for inmates that better humanizes their need to have treatment like any other disorder. Many people can quit cold turkey and maintain sobriety, but I believe it’s because THEY chose it- not because they were forced.

Samhsa’s website lists the goals of MAT therapy:

The ultimate goal of MAT is full recovery, including the ability to live a self-directed life. This treatment approach has been shown to:

  • Improve patient survival
  • Increase retention in treatment
  • Decrease illicit opiate use and other criminal activity among people with substance use disorders
  • Increase patients’ ability to gain and maintain employment
  • Improve birth outcomes among women who have substance use disorders and are pregnant

Acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone are the most common medications used to treat alcohol use disorder. 

Buprenorphinemethadone, and naltrexone are used to treat opioid use disorders to short-acting opioids such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone.

These MAT medications are safe to use for months, years, or even a lifetime. As with any medication, consult your doctor before discontinuing use!!!!!!!!!

https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment

Web MD lists 6 current “traditional” treatments for addiction that have proven successful:

6 Treatments For Addiction That Are Proven Successful
By Corinna Underwood
Reviewed by Dr. Carol Anderson, LMSW, ACSW on December 12, 2020
With several options available, you can find an addiction treatment option that best fits your individual needs.
Addiction treatment is not one-size-fits-all. Treatments may vary based on your needs. You can choose the treatment that works best for you based on the substance you're abusing, the level of care you need, your personal mental health needs, or what health care options you can afford. Here are some of the most common addiction treatments that have set patients on a successful path to recovery.

Detoxification
Medically-assisted detox allows you to rid your body of addictive substances in a safe environment. This is beneficial because sometimes substance withdrawal can cause unpleasant or even life-threatening physical symptoms. Because detox does not treat the underlying behavioral causes of the addiction, it is typically used in combination with other therapies.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
According to American Addiction Centers, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a valuable treatment tool because it can be used for many different types of addiction including, but not limited to, food addiction, alcohol addiction, and prescription drug addiction. Not only can CBT help you recognize your unhealthy behavioral patterns, but it can also help you learn to identify triggers and develop coping skills. CBT can be combined with other therapeutic techniques as well.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) could help you recognize your negative thoughts and give you ways to combat feelings of self-defeat. The goal of REBT is to help you realize that the power of rational thinking lies within yourself and is not related to external situations or stressors.

Contingency ManagementContingency Management (CM) can be used to treat a wide variety of addictions including alcohol, narcotics, and tobacco. Contingency management therapy reinforces your positive behavior (ie maintaining sobriety) by giving you tangible rewards. This type of treatment has been used successfully to combat relapse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

12-Step Facilitation
Twelve-step facilitation therapy ("12-step programs") can be used to treat alcohol and substance abuse. It is a form of group therapy that includes recognition that addiction has several negative consequences that can be social, emotional, spiritual and physical. This type of therapy begins with acceptance, then moves on to surrender to a higher power, then eventually transitions to involvement in consistent group meetings. Programs like the popular Alcoholics Anonymous use group meetings for discussion and mutual support.

Treatment with Medication
Medication can play an important role in recovery when combined with behavioral therapies. Certain medications can be used to reduce cravings, improve mood, and decrease addictive behaviors. For example, the FDA recently approved lofexidine to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms in patients receiving treatment for opioid addiction. Medications like acamprosate can help reduce drinking behavior.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction, you don’t need to fight the battle alone. Talk to a medical professional. There are successful treatments available that can help you overcome your addiction.

There are many other alternative treatments such as Ibogaine, vivitrol- not sure if that’s alternative- its pushed as pretty mainstream now- & also sublicade injections & subutox.. I won’t go into all of those here; because it’s been a rough day & my brain is loopy but its important to remember that NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL despite what any social media influencer tells you.

Let’s work together to find help for these struggling souls, including my son who’s still out there. Other struggling humans aren’t the enemy & other recovery providers shouldn’t be either.

Instead of a tranquilizer chair let’s find a LOVE chair!

Btw..Don’t look up “love chair” for a blog, at 4:30 am- before coffee…
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You Forgot to Tell Me, Mama

Photo courtesy of author

Mama you forgot to tell me how hard it was.

You forgot to mention how those sweet little sticky faces grow up to get in sticky situations.

You forgot to tell me the battles they will face.

You didn’t mention how far my heart would drop when I heard my child was struggling.

You failed to tell me
about the lump in my throat when I heard my child was getting divorced.

You didn’t even mention my eyes; that they would cry a thousand tears when I didn’t know where my son was.

You didn’t tell me Mama.

You didn’t tell me what to do when I’m in my warm bed at night, my belly full, wondering how much weight my boy has lost this week or when he last ate a meal.

You must have missed the part when the phone call from the jail came. You didn’t tell me what to say to “Incoming call from a facility to house your child that obviously can’t control himself- do you accept the charges?”

No I don’t accept! I don’t accept that my little blonde haired boy who loved dump trucks, and dirt bikes and playing tricks on his sister; who loved to go fishing and camping and finding little baby frogs in the pond; is now locked up in a freezing cold cement cell.
I don’t accept that he says they only turn on the heat every few hours when a visitor or vendor comes by.

I don’t accept it because I don’t even know what’s real anymore.

I don’t even know if that God you talked about so much exists Mama. Because it seems like HE has forsaken me.

When I’m driving to work, I cry out to Him, the tears so thick, I can’t even see anymore. I beg and beg for this pain to stop. For my little family to be healed again. You didn’t tell me what to do then.

You didn’t tell me what to say when people ask “How are you?” “Fine” seems so ridiculously false.

Mama, I don’t know what to do anymore.

I’m trying so hard to remember those simpler times.

The carefree days you told me about. The cotton candy at the fair and taffy down at the 5 and dime store.

You playing “kick the can” and swimming in the creek.

Photo by Shorpy.com

I’ll bet you never thought that sixty years later your youngest daughter would be asking you for answers to an unknown problem.

You loved my boy. The night he came home from the hospital you stayed up with him so I could rest & so he “wouldn’t choke”. If he did, you would always ” raise his left arm”. An old wives tale I suppose.

But it worked.
Maybe I could try something like that now.

Anything.

Anything you tell me to do Mama, I’ll try.

I know you did the best you could, I only wish you were here to help me again.

Maybe you could do something from heaven.
Can you start a prayer circle there? Do you guys pray?

Oh Mama.

I wish you would have told me that my heart never seems to heal. I wish I would have known the pain you felt when you lost your boy.

I wish I could have comforted you more.

Sometimes I get a whiff of your hair spray. Or Wrigley’s spearmint gum. Or the lilac bush we had in the yard.

It sends me back.
To when I thought my worst day was not getting a part in the school play.

Oh how life changes Mama.

Come to think of it, you did teach me how to deal with life. You made soup out of nothing, and mended clothes over and over. You put bread wraps inside my boots to keep the snow out. You marched to the school to stand up for me when I couldn’t.

You cleaned my house when I had my babies. You watched them so I could work night after night even as you were getting old.

You fixed cuts with that stingy red medicine.
You told me to stop yelling at my kids so much.

I realize now that you had the answers all along Mama!

It’s LOVE!

You did LOVE.
You were LOVE.
And you taught me how to love.

Thank you Mama.
Rest in paradise…..I’ll carry on from here.